• Orla Grant
  • 3 min read

Brenda Fleming shares her experience of her home energy upgrade three years on.

Brenda Fleming’s 126m2 end-of-terrace, 3-bedroom house in Dublin 7 was built in 1963 using concrete hollow block.

Before the home energy upgrade, Brenda’s home was cold and draughty. There was no insulation, the windows were double-glazed, and the heating system was a gas boiler. The house had a very poor energy rating of BER E1, which is typical for homes built in the sixties that have not undergone any building upgrades. 

“It was absolutely freezing. When I say cold, I remember one winter a few years ago the ice was actually on the inside of the porch,” Brenda recalls.


Hearing about the grants available through SEAI is what first motivated Brenda and her husband to consider the upgrade project.  At the time, SEAI were running a ‘Deep Retrofit’ pilot programme where up to 50% of the energy upgrades were supported through the grant.

“We’re both 70 now and we were thinking as we go on into our old age, you just couldn't put up with that cold,” says Brenda.

The works

In 2018 the house was externally insulated; the windows were replaced with triple-glazed windows and the doors were also replaced. The existing gas boiler was replaced with a renewable energy heating system, an air to water heat pump, and they opted for underfloor heating. They also got a heat recovery ventilation system to sustain a high standard of indoor air quality. Always a plus when you consider the health benefits associated with cleaner air! Finally, solar PV was installed so they could generate electricity from the sun and power their own appliances.

“Where we had the gas bill and the electricity bill, now we just have the one bill for the whole lot.”

Brenda’s contractor managed the entire project, including applying for SEAI grants and sourcing suppliers and tradespeople, which made it a much simpler process for her.

   Read about the works in detail


The house went from a BER E to BER A which is a massive improvement in terms of comfort levels, health benefits and of course lower energy bills. Brenda says the heat pump is incredibly low maintenance. “I just leave it running, it’s great. The only thing I do in summertime is turn off the heating. I turn it off completely so that we can open the doors and the windows.”

She says the house is extremely comfortable all year round now and that she’d recommend it to anyone considering an upgrade. “Definitely, it is well worth it.”

When they have visitors, they always comment on how lovely and warm the house is.

“I’d also say to anyone who’s elderly like myself that if you only have your old age pension, going forward, one energy bill is better than two or three bills.”

Read more about Home Energy Upgrades

Orla Grant | Communications Content Specialist

Orla is a member of the Digital Marketing team and creates digital content that tells the stories of sustainable energy initiatives happening in Ireland. She writes blogs and case studies and produces SEAI’s podcast, videos and animations. Orla has several years’ experience in corporate communications and has worked for clients and in-house across consulting, tourism, tax and construction sectors.